FOOTBALL ANNOUNCES 2017 SIGNING CLASS

FOOTBALL ANNOUNCES 2017 SIGNING CLASS

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State football team announced the addition of 28 players for the 2017 season as part of National Signing Day. The class is comprised of five players who enrolled at the start of the spring semester and 22 others who committed to the program on Wednesday.

"First, I want to thank our coaches for working tirelessly during the process," Sacramento State head coach Jody Sears said. "They put in countless hours either watching film or being on the road trying to make this program better on a daily basis.

"We had some attrition with the a couple of players graduating early, a few injuries and others that wanted to concentrate on their academics and that created a few more spots than we anticipated. I'm very happy with the class but am more pleased with the character and I think Hornet Nation will be proud."

The midyear enrollees consist of running back Joseph Ajeigbe, quarterbacks Wyatt Clapper and Kevin Thomson, defensive back Arthur Hayes and linebacker Sione Liku. Ajeigbe is a graduate transfer from Duke who will have one season of eligibility remaining. The Riverside, Calif., native prepped at Norco HS where he was an all-Southern Section selection. At Duke, he had 45 career rushing attempts for 158 yards and also played on special teams.

Clapper, Thomson and Hayes will each be juniors during the 2017 season while Liku will be a freshman after originally committing to the Hornets last spring and delaying enrollment.

Overall, the class is made up of 16 offensive players and 13 on the defensive side of the ball. Eight players in the class played high school football in the Sac-Joaquin Section and 13 attended schools within a two-hour radius of Sacramento.

"When we recruit we always start at home with our local kids and branch from there," Sears said. "We try to go to every local school during the spring and fall and build relationships with the players and coaches. I'm really happy with the group we brought in this year and there might be some more coming."

Along with Ajeigbe, Sacramento State signed three high school running backs who combined for 5,721 rushing yards and 72 touchdowns during the 2016 season. Erick Buchanan helped lead Madison HS of San Diego to a California State Div. 2-AA championship and rushed for 1,868 yards and 20 touchdowns. Elijah Dotson was a local standout at Antelope HS where he posted 2,223 yards and 25 TDs for the Titans en route to earning first team all-metro from the Sacramento Bee. Montaz Thompson completed the trio with 1,630 yards and 27 touchdowns in just nine games for Pittsburg HS.

"From a productivity standpoint, this group of running backs is extremely effective," Sears said. "The position was an area we needed to focus on with the graduation of Jordan Robinson and Demetrius Warren. We were able to bring in an experienced player in Joseph and the other three have very bright futures ahead of them."

Sacramento State also signed a pair of high school quarterbacks in Tristan Meyer and Jack Rice. Meyer led La Mirada HS where he had 2,462 passing yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior. Rice was named first team all-state for small schools after throwing for 3,312 yards and rushing for 1,514. He also accounted for 60 touchdowns for St. Bernard's HS in Eureka.

The pair join transfers Clapper and Thomson. Clapper guided the Modesto JC offense last season and finished the year with 2,078 passing yards and 17 TDs to earn all-conference honors. Thomson was a prep star at Riverside HS in Auburn, Wash., and began his collegiate career at UNLV.

"We signed (the quarterbacks) because we had some injuries at the position and wanted to increase the competition level in that room," Sears said. "It's going to be a major battle and the new guys will get a lot of reps during the spring."

Those quarterbacks will have three new targets during the fall. Dewey Cotton was an all-area and second team all-NorCal selection as a senior at St. Mary's HS in Stockton. Although just 5-foot-5, Cotton set the school record with 82 receptions and helped take the Rams to a state title game. Jeremiah Foster stands 6-foot-5 and led the Central Section with 20 receiving touchdowns at Bakersfield Christian HS as a senior. The trio is completed by Alex Hutchinson who was part of state Div. V title at McClymonds HS in Oakland.

The offensive line was aided by the addition of Troy Stiefel and Brandon Weldon who are both tackles from Southern California. Kaiden Sanders played at Yuba City HS where he was part of the Sacramento Bee all-metro team. The 6-foot-4, 340-pounder, follows in the footsteps of his father, Brandon, who played for the Hornets in 1995 and 1996.

Defensively, Sacramento State added five defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs. On the front, Joshua Cooper and Killian Rosko will begin their career as ends while Elijah Chambers, Joey Noble and Dylan Petti are slated to lineup on the interior of the line. Cooper had 16.5 sacks at Downey HS, Chambers was the Mountain Pass League Defensive Player of the Year and all-Southern Sections choice, Noble was the Sunset League Defensive Player of the Year, Petti was the Ambassador League Defensive Player of the Year and Rosko was the Mother Lode League Defensive MVP.

"We were looking for physical toughness, productivity and athleticism and found it in this group," Sears said. "We spent a lot of time evaluating these kids and had a hunch after watching them in camp and then they went on to have MVP seasons."

Tali Finefeuiaki and Liku are the newest linebackers. Finefeuiaki earned Defensive MVP honors from the DeAnza League and was an honorable mention all-Peninsula/South Bay selection by the San Francisco Chronicle. Liku ranked second in the state with 202 total tackles as a senior at Brookside Christian HS in Stockon in 2015.

The secondary was boosted by Arthur Hayes who enrolled at the semester after playing at Contra Costa JC. In the fall, Daron Bland, Malik Jeter, Dhaamir Lomax and Marte Mapu will join the unit. Bland earned the Valley Oak League Defensive Player of the Year award as a senior and was also a second team all-state medium schools choice at Central Catholic HS in Modesto. Jeter was the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division Player of the Year as he started at safety and quarterback for Seaside HS. Lomax will come from Butte JC and Mapu played multiple positions for Hawthorne HS.

Sacramento State begins its 2017 season at Idaho on Friday, Sept. 1.

MIDYEAR ENROLLEES


 
Played the past three seasons at Duke where he earned his degree…is currently enrolled at Sacramento State as a graduate student…had 45 career rush attempts for the Blue Devils for 158 yards and also caught three passes for 34 yards and returned a pair of kickoffs…graduated from Norco HS in Riverside, Calif., where he played three varsity seasons…earned first team all-Southern Section honors and was a three-time all-league selection…as a senior, he rushed for 1,605 yards and 16 touchdowns and posted 1,875 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior.

HS Highlights


 
Played the last two seasons at Modesto JC…threw for 2,078 yards and 17 touchdowns this past season to earn all-Valley Conference honors…also rushed for seven scores and had only five interceptions…took over the starting job a few weeks into the year and sparked the Pirates, winning the final six regular season games and earning a berth in the NorCal semifinals…breakout performance came at Siskiyous where he completed 25-of-28 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 65 yards and a score…threw for at least 250 yards in three contests and finished the year completing 63.6 percent of his passes…prepped at Pitman HS in Turlock, Calif.

Video Highlights


 
Played the previous two seasons at Contra Costa JC, earning all-Bay 6 honors in 2016…this past season, he tallied 39 tackles in 10 games at safety…had a tackle in each of the games he appeared in, including four or more stops in five games…was credited with seven tackles against De Anza and San Francisco City for his season high…also had 2.5 tackles-for-loss, recovered a fumble and had six pass breakups during the year…appeared in 10 games as a freshman where he had 22 tackles.

Video Highlights


 
Committed to Sacramento State last year but did not enroll at the University until this semester…despite playing for a small school, Liku was named all-area by the Stockton Record and was the Central California Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year as a senior…that year, he led the Sac-Joaquin Section and ranked second in the state with 202 total tackles and also blocked two field goals, forced three fumbles and intercepted a pair of passes…had at least 10 tackles in each of his games and had 20 or more in six contests, including 29 stops against Big Valley Christian.



Redshirted at UNLV in 2014 and was a reserve quarterback in 2015 before transferring at the end of the year…played three varsity seasons at Riverside HS where he was named the league's offensive back of the year and earned first team all-league honors as a senior…named to the News Tribune All-Area team and was selected to play in the Washington All-Star Game…as a senior, he had 2,132 yards of total offense with 24 touchdowns while helping guide the team to a share of the league title.

FALL ENROLLEES


 
Earned second team all-state small school from Cal-Hi Sports as a senior…named the Ambassador League Defensive MVP as a senior and was a two-time all-Southern Section Northwest Division selection…recorded 66 tackles as a senior, including four sacks…also had an interception and recorded three fumbles during the season…was credited with 12 tackles against Xavier Prep and Western Christian for his season highs…matched his total with 66 tackles as a junior…that year, he had four sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered two fumbles…was a part of two Ambassador League championship teams.

Video Highlights


 
A two-star recruit by Scout.com…named the Offensive Player of the Year by the Bakersfield Californian as a senior and also earned all-Central Section and all-South Sequoia League honors…helped lead the team to a Central Section Div. III title and a berth in the California State Div. 4-AA game…caught 88 passes for 1,652 yards and a Central Section leading 20 touchdowns in 2016…averaged 18.8 yards per reception during the year and had eight games with at least 100 yards. Biggest output came against Mission Oak HS where he had 12 receptions for 246 yards and two touchdowns…on defense, he recorded 10 interceptions, including two against Selma HS in the Southern California regional game…he was also the Central Section champion in the high jump.

Video Highlights


 
Named first team all-area large school by the Modesto Bee as a wide receiver following his senior season…was the Modesto Metro Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and a two-time all-league selection…helped lead the team to a pair of MMC championships…as a senior, he caught 73 passes for 1,053 yards and 11 touchdowns…recorded four games with at least 100 receiving yards, including 189 yards against Patterson HS…scored 11 touchdowns and seven two-point conversions for 80 total points…as a junior, he had 39 receptions for 773 yards and three scores.

Video Highlights


 
A two-star recruit by Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com…named second team all-Orange County and was the Sunset League Defensive Lineman of the Year as a senior…also named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Dream Team as a senior and was a second team selection as a junior…was a first team all-Sunset League selection as a junior…also served as the team's long snapper.

Video Highlights


 
Earned second team all-state small school from Cal-Hi Sports as a senior…named first team all-area small school by the Modesto Bee as a linebacker…was the Mother Lode League Defensive MVP and a two-time all-league selection on both offense and defense…earned the honor as a linebacker in 2015 and as a defensive end in 2016…recorded 101 tackles, including five sacks and  11 TFLs…was credited with at least six tackles in his 10 games and had double digit stops in six contests…had 16 tackles with two sacks against Lodi HS for his season high…also forced two fumbles during the season.…started on the offensive line for the Wildcats as a guard…helped the team to a pair of league titles and a Sac-Joaquin Section Div. V championship during his career.

Video Highlights


 
A two-time all-Southern Section and all-Mountain Pass League selection…was named the Mountain Pass League Defensive MVP and was also named all-area as a senior…recorded 89 total tackles with 20 tackles-for-loss and five sacks. Also had an interception and forced four fumbles…was credited with at least three tackles in all 11 games and had five games with 10 or more stops…biggest output came against West Valley HS where he had 15 tackles…played running back on offense where he scored four touchdowns on just six carries. He also caught two passes for 26 yards and a TD.

Video Highlights


 
A two-star recruit by Rivals.com…named honorable mention all-Peninsula/South Bay by the San Francisco Chronicle and earned all-Central Coast Section honors from Prep2Prep.com…was the DeAnza League Defensive MVP…played safety, tight end, running back, linebacker, kicker and returned punts for the Chargers…had 66 total tackles and 592 yards of total offense as a senior. That total including 43 solo tackles and a pair of sacks…on offense, he rushed for 333 yards and five touchdowns and caught 15 passes for 259 yards and a score…counting punt return yardage, he finished the season with 744 all-purpose yards and scored 42 points…played three seasons of varsity football.

Video Highlights


 
Was a two-time all-county selection by the Monterey Herald and earned all-Central Coast Section honors from Prep2Prep.com…named the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division Player of the Year as a senior…played quarterback and safety as a senior…threw for more than 1,000 yards and rushed for over 400 yards on offense…helped lead the team to a 10-2 overall record and a Pacific Division title as a senior.

Video Highlights


 
Played three seasons of varsity football at El Segundo HS as a guard and left tackle…earned all-Ocean League honors and was twice named to the Daily Breeze all-area team…named the team's Most Valuable Lineman…helped lead El Segundo HS to a pair of Ocean League titles during his final two seasons.

Video Highlights


 
Named first team all-state small school by Cal-Hi Sports as a multi-purpose player following his senior season…was named the Humboldt-Del Norte League Little 4 Offensive MVP as a junior and a senior…also garnered all-North Coast Section honors during his final two seasons…threw for 3,312 yards and rushed for 1,514 yards with 60 total touchdowns…also returned punts and played defense where he had 27 total tackles and five pass break-ups…completed 63.8 percent of his passes with only six interceptions in 282 attempts…threw for at least 300 yards in four games, including a season best 349 against Ferndale HS…had over 100 rushing yards in nine games and scored 19 touchdowns…biggest rushing performance came against Salesian Prep where he had 217 yards and four touchdowns in the NCS semifinals…helped lead the team to a 12-2 overall record and a perfect 6-0 mark in the Humboldt-Del Norte League as a senior…the Crusaders advanced to the North Coast Section Div. IV championship game before falling to Cardinal Newman HS…as a junior, he threw for 3,646 yards and 44 touchdowns and rushed for 1,456 yards and 17 TDs…finished the year with 5,102 yards of total offense and accounted for 61 touchdowns while helping his team to California State Div. 5-A and North Coast Section championships…defensively, he was credited with 85 tackles along with six PBUs, five fumble recoveries and a forced fumble…played varsity all four seasons and saw the team go 23-1 during league games.

Video Highlights


 
Named first team all-Southern Section Div. 8 and all-Crestview League as a senior…played on the offensive and defensive lines for the Mustangs…helped pave the way for an offense which rushed for 2,586 yards and 29 touchdowns during his senior season.

Video Highlights


 
A two-star recruit by Rivals.com…named second team all-NorCal by MaxPreps.com and NorCal Preps/Rivals…earned first team all-area honors by the Stockton Record…was the Tri-City Athletic League Offensive Player of the Year as a senior…set the school single-season record with 82 receptions and 1,240 receiving yards…rushed for 270 yards and four touchdowns and also served as the Rams' primary punt and kick returner. He finished the season with 1,945 all-purpose yards and scored a total of 90 points…helped St. Mary's win the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I title and advanced to the state Div. 1-AA championship game at Hornet Stadium…caught 12 passes for 121 yards in the state title game and also had 12 receptions for 195 yards against Cardinal Newman HS…as a junior, he hauled in 56 passes for 962 yards and 12 touchdowns to earn first team all-area recognition from the Stockton Record and first team all-TCAL honors…was a second team all-TCAL selection as a sophomore…finished his career as St. Mary's all-time leader with 174 receptions and 2,703 receiving yards.

Video Highlights
| KCRA Feature


 
Played three years of varsity football for the Vikings…recorded 89 total tackles and 16.5 sacks as a senior…had at least five tackles in each of the 12 games in which he appeared…was credited with a season high 15 tackles against Warren HS…recovered a pair of fumbles and forced two others.

Video Highlights


 
Earned first team all-San Diego Section and all-Western League honors as a senior…was a two-star recruit by Rivals.com…helped lead Madison to a California State Div. 2-AA championship at Hornet Stadium…team went 13-2 overall and 3-1 in league…only league loss came against Cathedral Catholic HS which also won a state championship…rushed for 1,868 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior with an average of 8.9 yards per carry…went over 100 rushing yards in 10 of the team's 15 games…had 238 rushing yards against Bonita Vista HS for his season high…rushed for a touchdown in 12 games and had multiple scores in six games…that total included the state title game where he rushed for 163 yards and two TDs against Valley Christian HS…also caught 48 passes for 719 yards and nine touchdowns…had a reception in all 15 games, including 10 grabs for 89 yards and a score against St. Augustine HS…finished the season with 2,612 all-purpose yards to lead San Diego Country and scored 176 points…as a junior, he rushed for 968 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught five passes for 93 yards and a TD.

Video Highlights


 
Ranked as the third best running back in Northern California by BattlePrepWest.com…earned second team all-North Coast Section honors by Prep2Prep.com as a senior…was a first team all-area selection by the Mercury News…rushed for 1,630 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior despite being limited to just nine games…averaged 10.7 yards per carry and had six games with at least 100 yards…compiled 376 yards and four touchdowns on 20 attempts against Serra HS. Also had 307 yards and three scores against Archbishop Mitty HS on 28 carries…named third team all-state by Cal-Hi Sports as a junior…rushed for 1,766 yards and 19 touchdowns that season while averaging over 10 yards per carry.

Video Highlights


 
A two star recruit from Scout.com and Rivals.com…named first team all-area and was selected as the County/Metro Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year…named the area Defensive Player of the Year by the Fresno Bee…helped lead Sanger HS to a 13-1 overall record and a 5-0 mark in league games…teams only loss came against Serra HS in the Northern California Div. 2-A championship…led the Apaches with 130 total tackles, including three sacks…finished his career with 369 career tackles to set the school record…on offense, he carried the ball 52 times for 417 yards and five touchdowns.

Video Highlights


 
Named second team all-state medium school by Cal-Hi Sports as a senior…was the Valley Oak League Defensive Player of the Year…named first team all-district large school by the Modesto Bee and first team all-area by BlackHatFootball.com…recorded 44 tackles as a senior and also had a pair of interceptions…returned an interception 104 yards for a touchdown against Manteca HS…also played on offense where he had 24 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns…grabbed four passes for a season-high 104 yards and a TD against Kimball HS…as a junior, he had 1,089 all-purpose yards, scored eight touchdowns and was credited with 48 total tackles…played three seasons of varsity football and helped the Raiders to a Sac-Joaquin Section and California State championship as a sophomore.

Video Highlights


 
Ranked as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com…threw for 2,462 yards and 37 touchdowns with only two interceptions as a senior…completed 69.1 percent of his passes (163-236) with a QB rating of 139.2…passed for 361 yards and seven touchdowns against Artesia HS for his season highs…had 10 games with multiple touchdowns and threw at least one TD pass in 12 of the team's 14 games…helped lead the team to a 24-6 record over his final two years…the Matadores won the California Div. 3-AA title following his junior season and lost in the Southern Section Div. III championship game as a senior…as a junior, he passed for 1,936 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 65.9 percent of his passes…older brother, Erik, played quarterback at Eastern Washington from 2002-05 under current Hornet coaches Paul Wulff and Jody Sears.

Video Highlights


 
Named first team all-city and first team all-league following his senior season…earned honorable mention all-East Bay recognition by the San Francisco Chronicle…helped lead the team to a 2016 California State Div. 5-A championship as well as an Oakland Athletic League title…McClymonds finished with a 13-1 overall record and was 5-0 in league play…began his high school career at Salesian HS in Richmond, Calif.

Video Highlights


 
Named first team all-NorCal by Maxpreps.com and was a first team all-metro selection by the Sacramento Bee…voted the MVP of the Capital Valley Conference and was also a first team all-league selection…set the Antelope HS single season record with 2,223 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns…team went 12-1 during his final season with only loss coming against Del Oro HS in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II semifinals…rushed for over 100 yards in 12 of the 13 games and averaged 171.0 yards per game…had four games with 200-plus yards, including a career high 287 against Grant HS in the second round of the playoffs…also caught 17 passes for 425 yards and seven touchdowns during the year…finished the season with 3,031 all-purpose yards and scored 200 points (33 touchdown, one two-point conversion)…defensively, he recorded 19 tackles with two interceptions and three pass breakups…rushed for 1,513 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior where he also caught 10 passes for 145 yards and a TD…tallied 5,044 career all-purpose yards in 30 games.

Video Highlights



 
A versatile athlete who played tight end, receiver, linebacker and safety as a senior at Salesian HS…caught 28 passes for 460 yards and two touchdowns as a senior…had at least one reception in 11 games…also played on defense where he had 19 tackles, including four sacks…helped the team reach the second round of the Southern Section Div. I playoffs in 2016.

Video Highlights


 
Played several positions for Hawthorne during his career, lining up at quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker, safety and cornerback…competed in the West Torrance Lions All-Star Game following his senior season.

Video Highlights


 
Was a two-time all-metro selection by the Sacramento Bee…also earned all-Tri County Conference honors during his final two seasons…played on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Honkers…team advanced to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III playoffs…was the league champion in the shot put and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet…father, Brandon, played for the Hornets from 1995-96.

Video Highlights